An article on Slashdot prompted me to look up some history on the Russian Buran space vehicle. Not many remember now that the Russians had their very own copy of the NASA Space Shuttle. It had only one orbital flight, and then the USSR collapsed and the program, which was motivated entirely by ego, was ended shortly after.
Something jumped out at me while reading about that lone flight. It was unmmanned, because the life support and other systems weren’t complete. This spacecraft took off, orbited twice, and then landed by itself, less than 5 feet from the runway centerline, overcoming a 34MPH crosswind to do so. This is was in 1988, using Russian computer trechnology, which was famously inferior. I find this astonishing.